The Eagles have a players day off today before getting back to the NovaCare Complex on Saturday and then over to the Linc for a public practice on Sunday.
Since it’s a day off, it’s a perfect chance to look back at the last week of practices and draw some conclusions. Here’s last week’s stock up, stock down list.
And here’s a recap:
Last week’s stock up players: Davion Taylor, K’Von Wallace, Nick Mullens, Josh Sweat, Jordan Mailata
Last week’s stock down players: Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor, Joe Flacco, Andrew Adams, Elijah Holyfield
Let’s get to this week’s stock watch:
WR Quez Watkins
All the Year 2 receivers — Watkins, Jalen Reagor and John Hightower — have had their moments early on, but I’ve seen the most consistency and improvement from Watkins, who was the last of the three to be picked in 2020. The sixth-round pick finally got a chance to play at the end of his rookie season and has really carried that over into this training camp. I thought he was on the bubble coming into camp, but he should be on the team.
CB Zech McPhearson
The Eagles might have found something in the rookie fourth-round pick out of Texas Tech. McPherson flew under the radar during the pre-draft process but the Eagles fell in love with him at the Hula Bowl, where they saw a lot of the traits we’ve seen from him during this camp. McPhearson is fast, twitchy, aggressive and has a knack for being around the ball. He was tough on himself earlier this week because he failed to haul in a few picks, but if he keeps playing like this, he’ll have plenty of opportunities.
TE Tyree Jackson
In the spring, Jackson stood out because he’s 6-foot-7 and towers over most of his teammates. But the converted quarterback has been very impressive at his new position, to the point where he is really pushing for a roster spot. He’s obviously a big guy but he moves very well and seems to be picking up his new position fairly quickly. Even if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster, he’s worth keeping around to develop.
RB Jason Huntley
The battle for the last spot or two in the Eagles’ running back room is something to watch over the next month. If the Eagles keep four backs, there’s a chance Kerryon Johnson, Jordan Howard and Huntley are fighting for it. It seems like just about every day during practice, Huntley rips off a long run and puts it into high gear to speed away from defensive backs. We’re starting to see why the Eagles kept him around for what was mostly a redshirt season in 2020. Aside from his ability on offense, Huntley has also been working as a kick returner, a job that could suit him.
DT Javon Hargrave
In general, I don’t think we talk enough about Hargrave. He’s a key part of the Eagles’ defense and is playing on a contract that’s worth $13 million per season. Hargrave had a quiet first season with the Eagles. He dealt with an injury early and then struggled to adjust to a new scheme. He looks much more comfortable during this training camp. He’s been making plays consistently, especially in 1-on-1 drills where he has been a handful for Eagles’ offensive linemen.
LB Davion Taylor
Last week, Taylor made the stock up list because he was getting a ton of reps with the first-team and it seemed like the new coaching staff had a plan for him. But since then, Taylor dealt with a quad injury and now has a calf injury that will sideline him for a while; he’s week-to-week. That’s a big deal for any young player, but especially one like Taylor who needs all the time on grass he can get. Hopefully, he’ll get to play some this preseason and also in the joint practices.
DT Marlon Tuipulotu
It’s not that Tuipulotu has done anything wrong but in a camp where some other defensive linemen have been making plays, the rookie has been pretty quiet. I’ve really noticed third-round pick Milton Williams, but not Tuipulotu. It’s also true that we’ve seen just two practices in pads and he might shine more in the preseason games.
RB Miles Sanders
I want to make clear that purely as a runner, Sanders is having a very good camp. He looks quick, explosive and agile. But he’s had far too many drops and also fumbled on Day 8 of practice. The drops are what are very concerning. Sanders is trying to get back to the type of receiving productivity he had as a rookie. Last season, he had eight drops, so this is a problem he needs to correct.
CB Michael Jacquet
Over the last week, we’ve seen Jacquet and Craig James seemingly get bumped on the depth chart by the rookie McPhearson. Jacquet’s roster spot certainly isn’t guaranteed in his second season as an undrafted free agent. And there’s a bit of a numbers crunch at the position.
WR Hakeem Butler
The Eagles still list Butler as a tight end but during camp it’s been pretty clear that experiment is over. Butler has been exclusively with the receivers. I was actually excited when I noticed Butler with the wideouts because I really liked him coming out in 2019. He was a fourth-round pick that year and I thought he had a chance to be a Day 2 pick after a tremendous final season at Iowa State. He’s 6-5, 227 and ran a 4.48 at the combine. And I haven’t seen him make a big play at all through eight days, which is disappointing.
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